The new three tier Coronavirus restrictions announced by the Prime Minister have been branded “a real blow to business” by British Chambers of Commerce Director General, Adam Marshall.
Dr Marshall said: “Intensified restrictions will be a real blow to business and public confidence at a delicate time for the economy. Firms have put hard work and precious cash into making their businesses Covid-secure, and must be allowed to operate unless there is overwhelming and clear evidence to the contrary. Businesses cannot be subjected to a rollercoaster of stop-start restrictions with no end in sight.
“Speculation and rumour have badly eroded trust between Westminster, local government, and our businesses communities. At a time when clarity and transparency are critical, local business leaders must be more deeply involved in decision-making, so that the real-world consequences for livelihoods and communities are understood. The introduction of any new restrictions must go hand-in-hand with the appropriate level of financial support, both now and into the future.
“Above all, businesses need to see an exit strategy to prevent economic paralysis. Mass testing, faster processing and proportionate financial support for those forced to self-isolate are crucial to supporting businesses and communities in the months ahead.”
Under the new three tier system of local lockdowns announced by Prime Minister:
- Tier One – medium risk: current social distancing measures, the rule of six and pub curfew at 10pm
- Tier Two – high risk: same restrictions as Tier One, plus a ban on households mixing indoors and overnight stays. Two households can socialise within six-person limit, but only outdoors
- Tier Three – very high risk: pubs and bars to close, with furlough-style compensation for staff, but restaurants and gastropubs allowed to open until 10.30pm and will be allowed to serve alcohol with ‘substantial’ meals. Ban on households mixing indoors and outdoors. No non-essential travel outside affected area and no overnight stays. Tougher restrictions in some areas, such as gym closures, if agreed with local politicians. Retail, schools and universities remain open
Currently, Liverpool faces a Tier Three lockdown, while places such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester face Tier Two restrictions. Somerset remains in Tier One.